cfp: Digital Densities: examining relations between material cultures and digital data

27th March 2015, The University of Melbourne
Hosted by the Digital Humanities Incubator (DHI) in the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. The ‘material turn’ in Humanities research has seen a celebration of the physicality of things and a revaluing of the weight of experience, including in the case of digital data. In his key text Mechanisms, Matthew Kirschenbaum identifies a need to reassess theories of electronic textuality in light of “the material matrix governing writing and inscription in all forms: erasure, variability, repeatability and survivability” (2008, xii). In the academy, this material turn co-exists with an increasing utilization of digital resources and digital methodologies to preserve and disseminate the findings of our research. These shifts are accompanied by divergent affective responses that include an interest in tactile sensations and a mourning of the loss of the object. There is a new awareness of the forms of lightness or weight attached to the transmission of ideas in and beyond our research communities; the densities of our culture and scholarship. The ever more numerous moments of contact between material culture and digital methodologies open up debates that are of both practical and theoretical significance. We invite papers that explore any aspect of the intersection between digital and material cultures. We warmly encourage proposals from scholars with a range of disciplinary backgrounds as well as from archival practitioners. Topics and questions to be addressed might include:

What are the critical practices in the intersection of digital humanities and the material turn? Where are the material traces in the digital? What labour is involved in the transitions between the material and the digital?How do material and digital objects, practices and networks interrelate? What is lost in translations from material to digital, and what is gained? What is it that archives seek, and are able, to preserve? What are the political and territorial disputes of material conservation? How are creativity, meaning and contemporary resonance expressed in museums, libraries and archives? What material, theoretical and ethical challenges are posed by the collection and use of data? Case studies of particular archival collections and the relationships they create between the material and the digital. What are the opportunities and limitations for pedagogy? How have contemporary representations imagined the digital transformation of contemporary cultures?

The symposium will run for one day. Proposals for 20 minute papers should contain an abstract of 150 words, as well as your paper title, a short biography (100 words), institutional affiliation and contact details. Proposals should be submitted by 4th February 2015to amandat

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